From: Babatunde Azeez, Abuja
National Boitechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Biocrops Nigeria Ltd. to produce bio-pesticides, nematocides and bio-fertilizers.
NABDA Director General Prof. Alex Akpa disclosed this during the end of the year media parley held Friday in Abuja.
He said the partnership is focused at propagating in commercial level, different BT crops that will help nation attain food security.
“Few weeks ago NABDA signed a MOU with Biocrops Nigeria limited, we have gone into partnership with them which is a win win situation, our scientist and theirs will collaborate to massively expand our horizon, to produce Bio-pesticides, Nematicides and Bio-fertilizers.
“With this Partnership we hope to propagate in commercial level hundreds of thousands and if not millions of plantlets from cassava to, yam plantains, banana and all the crops and this will help to develop our country.
“This is why the ministry of budget and planning is interested in that project, they are part of the project.” He noted.
The DG explained that bio-pesticides and bio-nematicides prevent situation where farmers out of desperation make use of chemicals like sniper to preserve farm produce.
He noted that bio-fertilizers will reduce the effect of chemical fertilizers on the soil as bio fertilizers are biodegradable and ecosystem friendly without adverse effects on hand health.
Prof. Akpa also commented on the formal presentation of the BT cowpea by the National Biosafety Management Agency.
He noted that the improvement of the cowpea through biotechnology is very cogent to food security and cowpea is a very important source of protein and also a major staple food.
He explained that the improved BT cowpea is resistant to Maruca which is a pest that wrecks devastating havocs on cowpea plantation, while stressing that it reduces the rate of chemical herbicide and pesticides from 9 times to once through out a farming season.
He said the reduction in the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides will reduce the degradation of the environment and adverse effect of the chemicals on human health while reducing the expenses of farmers during production.
“Just yesterday The National Biosafety Management Agency formally presented the BT cowpea. All the research have been done, the development have been done, the field trials have been done and it has gotten to a stage where both the researchers and our self NABDA, went to the Biosafety agency to present of the project and yesterday NBMA formally had a hearing on this.” He added.
The DG also disclosed that plans are being concluded to bring in Cuban scientist in to Nigeria to start local production of vaccines and Bio-pharmaceuticals like insulins among others.